Pure O – Purely Obsessional OCD Test & Symptoms 

Uninvited and intrusive thoughts can enter the mind and basically take over. Trying to calm or eliminate them can be stressful and time-consuming. Not to mention the impact it has on your mental health. Having the same nagging thoughts continuously, obsessively, is Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.


The phrase “Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” is used to describe OCD without physical compulsions. Pure O takes out most of the physical and visible parts of the disorder OCD. Without the observable compulsions, Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder becomes more about the obsession side of the disorder.

Sufferers of Pure O may not experience the typical physical and visible parts of OCD, such as checking doors and locks, washing hands, or repeatedly cleaning their environment. Instead, sufferers of Pure O engage in rumination and mental rituals, collectively known as ‘mental compulsions’ in an effort to decrease the anxiety caused by their intrusive obsessive thoughts. Additionally, people suffering from Pure O may take great pains to avoid people, places, objects, or activities that trigger their obsessive thoughts or may seek significant reassurance from others in order to feel less anxious and fearful about their obsessive thoughts.

Experiencing debilitating obsessive thoughts can make it hard to get through your everyday activities without being distracted. This means life in general can be disrupted and your ability to complete both necessary and desired tasks can be significantly impaired.

What is Pure O?

Pure O is the shortened term for Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Pure OCD is not a clinical term, but is recognized by those familiar with OCD as a form of the condition that is not marked by outward or observable compulsive behavior. It is important to understand that people with Pure O are still engaging in compulsive behavior, but it unfolds in the form of mental compulsions and rumination rather than overt rituals that can be observed by others.

Other names people may refer to for Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are

  • Pure O
  • Pure OCD
  • Purely Obsessional OCD

Is Purely Obsessional OCD different from OCD?

Unlike Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, there are little to no outward, physical obsessive and repetitive compulsions that can be discerned or detected from an outsider’s perspective. Friends and family may notice a change in behavior but it’s much harder to pick up on than OCD. Just briefly below we’ll take a look at Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder so we can show you where the differences lie.

Signs and Symptoms of Pure O

Pure O may feel different from other forms of OCD because the individual may not yet rely on physically time-consuming and tiring overt physical compulsions, although their time is spent mentally trying to solve the distressing problems that OCD creates. Sufferers of Pure O do still have the inward cognitive process of the compulsions but the behavior to deter their fear and anxiety is all done inside the mind.

    Some examples of what someone experiencing Pure O are:

    • Repeated and continuous thoughts that cause mental affliction, anxiety and distress.
    • Feeling scared, disgusted or upset about the thoughts that you’ve had no control over.
    • Inward repetitive routines to suppress the thoughts or the need to act on the thoughts.
    • Avoiding situations where the thoughts are likely to appear.
    • Seeking constant assurance from others.
    • Finding daily tasks difficult (like sleeping, leaving the house, eating, seeing friends) because of the mental distress it causes.
    • Checking bodily sensations like arousal.
    • Doubting yourself and your sexual preference.

    Pure O, as well as OCD, can sometimes be related to other mental disorders like:

    • Anxiety
    • Hoarding
    • Depression
    • Substance abuse (Addiction)

    Types of Pure O

    The thoughts that come with having Pure O are almost always uninvited. They are thoughts you cannot control having and sometimes they are subjects you never thought yourself capable of thinking.

    Pure O thoughts and mental images are quite often about sex and sexual disturbances, desecration, dying in ways you might have seen in movies like Final Destination and murder. The different types of Pure O can cause life-changing alterations. Breakups, meltdowns, panic attacks, school dropouts and failed exams.

    Therefore, Pure O can be extremely distressing, especially if your inward ritual or outward routine doesn’t shake the thought process before it gets worse. In wish case, anxiety can rear its ugly head or you might seek reassurance from a close friend or family member to put you at ease. Though this too, can be difficult as the thoughts that come with Pure O as mentioned earlier are not very pure and can be inappropriate to speak about.

    • Relationship OCD
    • Harm OCD
    • Paedophilia OCD
    • Sexual OCD

    All types cause unwanted thought processes, images and feelings as well as the grim feeling of doubting oneself. Pure O can lead a person to question their own moral values.

    Imagine sitting a school exam and suddenly having the repeated image in your mind of your school peers naked. The thought itself had never occurred to you, you don’t think you find them attractive, plus you have a partner. Now you’ll doubt your sexuality, your feelings for your partner and your feelings for your peers. It can be a very confusing time and this is just one example.

    Take a Pure O Test

    Having Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is not uncommon and you are not alone. There is no way of telling how many people globally have Pure OCD, as it is more a way in which OCD can manifest rather than a distinct type of OCD. The intrusive thoughts that arise with OCD can be very difficult to talk about and can create feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation.

    There are online tests you can complete to find out more information about your symptoms and possible diagnosis but it’s also suggested that you seek advice from a medical or mental health professional who can help you gain clarity about your condition as well as determine any other underlying concerns that may require attention and care.


    Treatment for Pure O

    OCD that presents itself as Pure O is a treatable condition and can be treated by a mental health professional who specializes in OCD. Exposure and response Prevention, which is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is the gold-standard treatment used for anxiety and OCD disorders. This treatment supports the individual in gradually and strategically facing their fears while resisting from engaging in both mental and physical compulsions. This process helps the individual gain clarity about their condition and to develop new and healthy ways of responding to their intrusive thoughts.